A British columnist says that the anti-Semitic head of Britain’s Labour party has become a catalyst for Jews to reconnect to their Judaism and Israel.
Miranda Levy, an online columnist for the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, wrote a telling article, published Saturday in The New York Post, claiming that many previously disconnected Jews in Great Britain are coming closer to Judaism and Israel due to the rising anti-Semitism in the Labour party, headed by Jeremy Corbyn.
Levy admits that she had not entered a synagogue in over 33 years and was divorced from her non-Jewish husband. Today, “over the past few months, both my political sensibilities and my sense of cultural identity have radically changed,” she wrote.
The author recently found herself in a synagogue attending a lecture by Luciana Berger, a former shadow minister for public health and a Jew. Levy explained that Berger “was hounded (while heavily pregnant) out of the party she called ‘institutionally racist.’”
Levy noted that in attendance was Louise Ellman, a British Labour politician, who reportedly had been called a “Jewish Labour Movement bitch.”
The Jeremy Corbyn Effect
Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015. Since then, the U.K. has faced a significant increase in public anti-Semitic incidents.
Levy noted that Corbyn had described representatives of Hamas as “friends” when he invited them to a controversial meeting in Parliament in 2009. Last year, footage emerged of him saying in 2013 that some British Zionists had “no sense of English irony.”
Such incidents led the writer and her friends to surmise that “Jeremy Corbyn has made a lot of people who didn’t feel very Jewish, Jewish again.”
She also credits “Corbyn and his cronies” with getting British Jews to “mobilize.”
Jewish member of Parliament Margaret Hodge agrees, wrote Levy. “I remember my dad tried to make me Jewish and failed,” Hodge recently said. “The local rabbi tried to make me Jewish and failed. It took the leader of the Labour Party to do that.”
Connecting to Judaism and Israel
Levy shared that she has been trying to connect more with Israel through watching the Israeli hit Netflix shows “Shtissel” (about an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem) and “Fauda” (about undercover Israeli forces.)
The author asked on Twitter if others felt that their Jewish connection had deepened following the rise of British anti-Semitism. Some of the answers she received were:
“I am fiercely pro-Israel now. Wasn’t bothered before.”
“I had always felt Jewish, but British first. Now it’s Jewish first. Makes me a bit sad that it’s come to this, but being Jewish is so enriching.”
The question one might ask is, “Does it take increasing anti-Semitism to come to Israel?”
Perhaps, with Levy’s awakening, she will be able to address these questions in a future article.